REDDING, Conn. – New York Air National Guard Colonel Howard Wagner, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and a Redding resident, has been selected to command the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
The wing, which has a strength of 1,300 men and women, operates nine C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, deploys airmen into combat zones as part of Air Force Air Expeditionary Wings, and responds to New York state emergencies when directed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Wagner, who currently serves as the wing's vice commander, will take command on Monday, May 15. The current commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, Brig Gen. Timothy LaBarge, has been named to serve as the Chief of Staff of the New York Air National Guard.
"I'm truly honored and humbled to be designated as the next commander of the 105th Airlift Wing. It is an accomplished and multi-faceted organization with a history of service to our state and nation and composed of incredibly talented and dedicated individuals," said Wagner.
Wagner joined the U.S. Air Force in 1982 after graduating from Tufts University and receiving his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He earned his pilot wings in 1984, and flew the T-37 training aircraft as an instructor pilot. He flew 26 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm1991. In 1994, Wagner transitioned to flying the C-5A Galaxy and joined the 105th Airlift Wing as a pilot.
"Col. Wagner is the rare individual who combines extraordinary technical competence with an astonishing feel for the people and issues of the 105th Airlift Wing. His 22 years of experience in the Operations Group, Maintenance Group and at HQ-NYANG, make it hard to imagine a more accomplished and compassionate leader for the men and women of the 105th Airlift Wing," said LaBarge.
Since joining the 105th, Wagner has served as commander of the 105th Operational Support Flight, the 137th Airlift Squadron and the 105th Maintenance Group. Wagner has served full-time as a Guard Airmen since 2005.
He and his wife, Vanita, live in Redding, Connecticut. They have three children.